Paintings can live a life of their own if one can get out of their way. I try to begin at square one with each blank canvas—to empty out preconceived ideas and just start applying paint as randomly as possible. I make an effort to listen to the painting instead of bossing it around. A give and take evolves between my intuitive nature—where I really want to stay—and the analytical side, which inevitably starts asserting itself as I make decisions on which leads to follow.
This way of working sometimes leaves me—as the first viewer-- puzzled, even shocked, with what results. I then must go through a period of accommodation while deciding whether the painting can be allowed to live in that state or whether it must change again.
I avoid notions of meaning, symbolism or metaphor--especially while the work is in progress. When I begin to think I know what the painting is about, I become self-conscious and overly analytical and the piece withers and dies before my eyes. Trying to keep a painting alive is maddening but completely addictive.
Don Gray - Vancouver, Washington 2023